Saint-Nazaire: Collaborative effort the key to port strategy
Interview with Jean-Pierre Chalus, Chairman of the Executive Board of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port.
Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port is a member of AIVP since 1990
We recently spoke to David Samzun, Mayor of Saint-Nazaire, about plans to reroute the Boulevard des Apprentis. The scheme will benefit all stakeholders, by stimulating business for economic operators in the area, while preserving quality of life for local residents. The redevelopment of Saint-Nazaire’s port and industrial zone is a key plank of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port’s strategic project for 2015-2020, which is focused on three priorities: “being at the heart of existing and emerging industries”, “guaranteeing performance for port industrial facilities” and “following a shared policy for the sustainable development of port estuary spaces”.
AIVP – Plans to redefine Saint-Nazaire’s industrial and port zone, which include moving the Boulevard des Apprentis, are built around a very dynamic cooperative approach. That willingness to embark on a collaborative effort is reflected in a number of the actions that make up your strategic project, including the planned “Port and Territory” charter. Can you tell us more about its aims?
Jean-Pierre Chalus, Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port – There are a number of projects aimed at bringing the City of Saint-Nazaire, its conurbation and Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port closer together. For several years, a collective process has been on-going to come up with a shared development vision. A framework document is needed for the parties concerned to be able to work together in a coordinated way on certain development projects. The future “Port and Territory” charter will need to set out how the collaboration will work and who will be responsible for overseeing each of the measures to be taken in the short and medium term. Subjects covered include traffic flows and parking, the intended use of different spaces or the maintenance of roads and mobile installations.
AIVP – Optimising available resources and densification of industrial and logistics spaces is another key aspect of your project. How will that be put into practice?
Jean-Pierre Chalus – Guaranteeing the performance of industrial and port facilities and being at the heart of current and emerging industries are two key priorities for our strategy. The transformations going on right now in Saint-Nazaire’s industrial and port zone are a perfect example of that. On the one hand, you have an existing industrial tissue that’s experiencing strong growth driven by the development of businesses like STX or Man. On the other, you have a new industry emerging around marine renewables, to which we already attached special importance in our previous strategic project. It now has its place in the Loire estuary. This is a dynamic economy on a dense, limited site. As an industrial resource for economic growth, our role is to answer the call and to meet those needs while finding logistical and planning solutions to ensure the co-existence of the different uses is a success. In other words, redefining, optimising, improving reliability. And that’s what we have done, thanks to the collaborative efforts undertaken in conjunction with government departments, local communities including Saint-Nazaire Agglomération, the Sustainable Development Agency for the Saint Nazaire Region, the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and businesses based in the port zone. The effort is worth it. Don’t forget that the port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire employs almost 25,000 people, with 6,000 of those in Saint-Nazaire.
AIVP – Your efforts to optimise the way the port space is used go hand in hand with numerous measures aimed to reducing the port’s environmental footprint. They include industrial ecology, an approach that also implies concerted action and resource pooling. What practical actions have been undertaken in your territory?
Jean-Pierre Chalus – We introduced this approach in partnership with Saint-Nazaire Agglomération with the aim of developing synergies between industrial and port stakeholders located between Donges and Saint-Nazaire. An analysis carried out in 2014 identified potential interactions. They are now being refined or put into practice, and others will follow as the businesses involved initiate them. So in Saint-Nazaire, we are examining the technical and economic feasibility of a 3 km industrial heat network, which could potentially save 2,000 tonnes of CO2. In Montoir, from the plants owned by Yara France or Air Liquide to the IDEA Group’s methanisation unit, they’re talking about heat recovery and recycling. In the port zone, seven companies are looking at pooling the collection of their hazardous waste, which represents about 4,300 tonnes a year. A contract is currently being agreed. Not forgetting the pooling of pallet waste and maintenance of water treatment facilities.
AIVP – The management of natural spaces is another key plank of this very proactive environmental strategy. How does that square with the need to cater for industrial and port stakeholders, and your commitment to “accelerating local economic development”?
Jean-Pierre Chalus – Our role is to contribute to economic development, wealth and job creation, while at the same time respecting the environment in which we operate. Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port is special in that it happens to be based on an estuary that is recognised for its biodiversity. For several years, we have been committed to an approach aimed at controlling the environmental impact of the port’s activity. In particular, we are contributing to efforts to raise awareness about the Loire estuary and its preservation, alongside environmental protection organisations and the government. That work is resulting in conservation initiatives tailored to each site, efforts to maintain extensive farming and hunting, combating invasive species, and promoting ecological developments. Some 40% of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port land will be preserved as a natural environment and management plans will be put in place for the main sites. The first is due in the spring at the Donges-East site.